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PhD course

Socio-Ecological Approaches to Behaviour Change: Theory, Design and Evaluation of Interventions - Attendance

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Course description

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Course content

There is increasing evidence that individualised interventions to change behaviour based largely on psychological models of behaviour change are of limited effectiveness, particularly among more resistant population groups which often include deprived populations and those in greatest need of behavioural change. More effective interventions, and those with long term sustained effects, tend to be those which incorporate multiple components and are informed by a socio-ecological approach, which highlights the importance of acting not only at individual level but at social, community, organisational, environmental and policy levels. A socio-ecological approach implicitly involves a whole-system approach to understanding and changing health behaviour, complex interventions, and a search not just for what works? But what works, for whom and in what circumstances?

The main aim of this course is to provide an introduction to multilevel and systems perspectives, most notably the socio-ecological model of health, and to understand how this framework can be used to inform the design of multilevel complex interventions. There is a particular focus on the methodological tools required to develop, evaluate and implement such interventions.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course the candidate should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


Participants will gain knowledge of:

  • Limitations of monofactorial interventions
  • Theory and rationale underpinning the socio-ecological model
  • Evidence supporting the effectiveness of multilevel complex interventions
  • An understanding of the importance of complexity, systems, context
  • Transdisciplinary science
  • RE-AIM evaluation framework
  • MRC framework for the evaluation of complex interventions


After completion of the course, the candidate can:

  • Develop a logic model for a complex intervention
  • Develop an evaluation design for a complex intervention

General competence

After completion of the course, the candidate can:

  • apply the principles of the socio-ecological framework to the design and evaluation of interventions
  • critically appraise published research describing interventions and their evaluation
  • appreciate the value of a multidisciplinary perspective on the development and evaluation of complex interventions

Study period

Autumn, 2-6 October 2017.

Credits (ECTS)

1,5 or 3 ECTs.

Specific terms

Course registration and deadlines

On Studentweb Course code GHIG913A-B. The candidates must sign up for the course at least 14 days in advance. The maximum number of participants is 20.

Recommended previous knowledge

Master Degree or equivalent in disciplines relevant to educational sciences, psychology and public health.

Compulsory Requirements

Pass with 80 % attendance of the lectures, seminars and group work and demonstrations/ practical activities, submission of essay and approval of course paper.

Form of assessment

The evaluation procedures of the Faculty of Psychology will be applied.

Pass or Fail.

Pass with 80 % attendance of the lectures, seminars and group work (1.5 ECTs). Candidates may also complete a paper (10-15 pages) writing up their intervention and evaluation design. The paper is to be evaluated (pass/fail) by the course coordinator or the appropriate course instructor (further 1.5 ECTs, optional).

Who may participate

Academic staff and PhD students at the Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen, and Uni Health can attend.

Additional information

Supplementary course information

Teaching Methods and Extent of Organized Teaching

Lectures, discussion groups, seminars.

Own activity:

Candidates will apply the learnings of the course as it progresses to develop an outline plan for an intervention and its evaluation, with review through discussion with the course co-ordinator and group members.


Administrative staff Maria Luttges Mathieu: maria.luttges@uib.no

Academic responsibility

Laurence Moore, Professor II GHIG; Director, MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow.

Reading list

Key papers include:

Glasgow RE, Vogt TM, Boles SM. Evaluating the public health impact of health promotion interventions: the RE-AIM framework. Am J Public Health. 1999;89: 1322¿1327.

McLeroy, K. R., Bibeau, D., Steckler, A., & Glanz, K. (1988). An ecological perspective on health promotion programs. Health Education Quarterly, 15, 351-377.

Craig P, Dieppe P, Macintyre S, Michie S, Nazareth I, Petticrew M. Developing and evaluating complex interventions. London: Medical Research Council, 2008.

Course location

University of Bergen, Christiesgt. 13, Bergen.


Exam information

Study period

Autumn, 2-6 October 2017.